Monday, October 15, 2007

Foreign Miscreants: International Pedophile Search

Update 2 (October 19, 2007 @ 3:01pm)

They found the dirty bastard, oh wait, suspect:

Thai police arrest Canadian pedophilia suspect

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- A teacher from Canada suspected of sexually abusing young boys in photographs posted on the Internet has been arrested in Thailand, Thai police said.

Christopher Paul Neil was taken into custody early Friday in Nakhon Ratchafima, a town about 130 miles (210 km) northeast of Bangkok, where he was allegedly attempting to contact underage boys, Maj. Gen. Wimon Pao-in said.

Thai police were moving Neil to Bangkok on Friday, police said.

Neil had been working as an English teacher in South Korea and flew from Seoul to Bangkok last Thursday, said Interpol, the international police agency that issued a worldwide appeal for information in the case last week.

The alert was issued after 200 photographs were posted on the Internet, showing a man sexually abusing 12 different young males.

The photos, which authorities believe were taken in Vietnam and Cambodia in 2002 or 2003, had been digitally altered to disguise the man's face. But German investigators were able to reverse the process and restore the images, and his picture was then distributed worldwide.

The suspect was identified within three days after the photographs were released, based on tips from five sources on three continents, according to Interpol.

Update 1 (October 16, 4:04pm):

The basics-
His name: Christopher Paul Neil
Age: 32
Citizenship: Canadian Thai police name pedophile suspect
The Guardian Unlimited: Thai police name suspected web paedophile

I knew it would eventually be a headline. I've written before about how lax schools are in Korea when screening potential foreign employees. I was shocked when I applied and gave out the usual stack of references and documents required to get work back home. Eventually, I realized that no one had bothered to follow-up and check on my references.

Now I know my stuff is in order, but what if it wasn't? Once I realized that the people I work with got in with the same ease I've made it a policy to be leery of foreigners I meet here. For example, at my second job there was a man who was seriously maladjusted. He'd be in a "mood" and wouldn't talk to anyone until he snapped out of it. He'd be unresponsive to questions and would slam things around on his desk. It was very weird. He managed to get into trouble with the locals for waving a middle finger at the wrong person and that came back on him. He also was married to a Korean woman. Talk about bottom feeding for a passport...gah.

The poor woman probably never realized what she was getting into because a lot of Koreans I've met truly go on the most superficial of judgments to make friends or to even start relationships. I've got other anecdotal stories like that. It's the reason I can count the number of foreigners here that I consider true friends over mere acquaintance on my fingers. Now I'm not saying all foreigners here are crazy. Some might be normal and adventurous people who want to live overseas and travel. However, I've also encountered a huge amount of maladjusted and downright crazy people most of whom I doubt could get hired much less hold down a gainful job in the States (or wherever they're from).

Many times it's occured to me that it's simply dangerous to hire people you don't know from Adam with no background or criminal record checks to teach children. I'd NEVER let my child attend a "school" where teachers didn't have a background check. Now a friend did point out that some people have managed never to get in trouble and there would be no criminal records to get. However, they don't even do reference checks here and that they can do. Like back home some people slip through the cracks, but the current situation here is more like a chasm.

This leads me to this disturbing story. I was watching CNN this morning when they aired a story about a pedophile who posted pictures of himself on the Internet molesting boys. He scrambled his face but they were able to reverse the process and they released his picture. It ends up that this guy has been identified due to tips and was supposedly teaching kids in Korea at the time they were narrowing in on him: Interpol Says Suspected Pedophile Identified, Sought in Thailand. Currently, it's believed he's fled to Thailand.

Here is the Interpol media release on this case. Click on the links in the story for pictures (I just don't have the stomach to post his face on my blog) and, if you know who this guy is, contact the authorities.

Here are some other articles:

The Register: International manhunt tracks pedophile suspect to Thailand
New York Times: Trail to Suspected Pedophile Reignited Online
BBC News: Online abuser 'English teacher'

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